Brooklyn Boro

Durant displeased after preseason loss

Superstar "didn't like anything" following defeat to Heat

October 11, 2022 John Torenli, Sports Editor
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Kevin Durant spent a good part of last summer waiting in vain for the Nets to trade him.

But now that he’s locked in and ready for the upcoming season, he doesn’t want to see it go to waste.

“I didn’t like anything, you know? I liked that we came out of it healthy,” Durant said following last Thursday’s 109-80 exhibition loss to Miami before a crowd of 14,058 at Downtown’s Barclays Center.

While the defeat was meaningless and Brooklyn’s second straight this preseason, Durant wasn’t shy about voicing his displeasure with the team’s total performance.

“I mean obviously, every game you’re going to have good spurts, bad spurts, you know, you’re going to have runs,” he noted. “Moments when you play good and bad, but it’s consistency – we just want to keep building on that, keep getting better at that.”

There was nothing consistent about the Nets’ offseason.

Durant made it very clear that he didn’t want to be all in for Brooklyn after the Nets failed to ink fellow superstar Kyrie Irving to a long-term deal, forcing the mercurial guard into a $36.5 million player option for this campaign ahead of his pending free agency.

It was even reported that Durant was willing to come off his trade demand if Nets owner Joe Tsai got rid of both general manager Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash.

But Tsai stuck to his guns, Marks was unable to deal one of the best players of his generation and everyone agreed to play nice in 2022-23 going forward.

Cam Thomas scored 13 points off the bench last Thursday night at Barclays Center, but the Nets fell to 0-2 on the preseason. AP Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez

Durant did score a game-high 22 points in 26 minutes against the Heat, giving Nets fans their last glimpse of their most important player before the regular-season opener here on Oct. 19 vs. New Orleans.

Brooklyn will be in Milwaukee Wednesday for their penultimate exhibition contest before wrapping up the preseason slate in Minnesota on Friday.

For a team frontloaded for another run at a championship, one which fell well short last year with the Nets getting bounced in a four-game opening-round sweep by eventual Eastern Conference champion Boston, this squad doesn’t yet seem ready to head into the 82-game grind of the NBA regular season.

The Nets were crushed by visiting Philadelphia in their Oct. 3 preseason opener and sat out a bunch of rotation players against Miami, including Irving and Joe Harris, who is still working his way back from ankle surgery in March.

Though Harris has been adamant that he is feeling great this preseason, Nash sat him against the Heat due to some soreness in the ankle, but the sharp-shooter extraordinaire will be traveling with the team to Milwaukee.

“I hope it’s not like a lingering thing,” Nash said. “I think it’s just a precaution tonight. He’s a little sore and we just want to make sure he gets the proper recovery so that he can come back to full strength.”

Harris, who is always among the league’s top 3-point shooters, played in only 14 games last season.

As for Durant and his relationship with the Brooklyn fan base, that was evident during the team’s annual Practice at the Park along the Brooklyn Promenade Sunday.

Nash received some boos from the fans and Durant and Irving received only a smattering of applause despite a record crowd of 8,000 at the event.

“The guys have worked really hard, they’re locked in to all the details. We’re trying to form an identity and understanding each other, coming together,” Nash said.

“It’s a challenge but they’ve worked really hard. If we stick with it then we’ll be a great team.”

The Nets have been thought of as a potentially great team since Durant and Irving arrived here in the summer of 2019.

Three years later, Nash is just hoping they’ll stick together long enough to achieve that goal.

Brooklyn fans seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach to this year’s unit.

It’s hard to blame them after Durant tried to force a trade that never came.

Ben Simmons had 10 rebounds and six turnovers in the Nets’ preseason loss to Miami at Downtown’s Barclays Center last Thursday. AP Photo by Julia Nikhinson

NOTHING BUT NET: Cam Thomas scored 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting in 20 minutes off the bench last week against the Heat. Newly acquired forward Markieff Morris was the only other Net in double figures in scoring with 10 points. … Ben Simmons, who sat out all of last season while dealing with mental-health issues and a herniated disk, scored four points and grabbed 10 rebounds, but committed six turnovers in 25 minutes.

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